Innovative Solutions to Old Problems

Innovative Solutions to Old Problems

Stormwater runoff has been a societal problem for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age when ancient Greeks started to develop solutions to help offset the increase in impervious surfaces. Although civilization has made many advances since then, the concepts of stormwater runoff collection and conveyance have remained the mostly same – capture the flow and take it elsewhere. What once was thought of as a basic solution has now become problematic, as the amount of impervious surface has dramatically increased with the growth of our communities. This has caused our water quality to diminish over time while putting a huge strain on our local stormwater systems. One of the unique opportunities I have had at TREKK has been addressing this issue using non-traditional stormwater systems that are slowly being implemented in cities across the United States. Instead of capturing flow and taking it away as quickly as possible, green infrastructure (GI) takes a different approach – capture and infiltrate the stormwater runoff to improve water quality and pipe capacity and increase aesthetic appeal. Green infrastructure includes a variety of drainage solutions, such as pavers, rain gardens, infiltration basins, and stormwater street trees. The concept behind GI is to collect pollutants, chemicals, and other contaminants before they enter the stormwater system, thus improving the water quality. This is achieved by capturing the stormwater runoff and storing it until can infiltrate into the ground. The stormwater runoff collected by GI reduces the amount entering the stormwater system, therefore reducing capacity issues to existing stormwater systems. Perhaps one of the underrated aspects of green infrastructure is...
IMPROVING LIVES.

IMPROVING LIVES.

When you hear a phrase like Improving Lives, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It might be lending a hand to a neighbor, helping out a friend in need, or treating people that you meet every day a little better. Here at TREKK Design Group, it means making the world better for everyone who is impacted by our project work. The idea that inspecting one manhole, smoke testing one sewer segment, cleaning and televising one sewer line, or conducting a survey for a new street design can Improve Lives can be difficult for some to wrap their head around. To me, this means that we are making the waterways of America cleaner and the streets we drive on safer. The basic daily functions of getting from point A to B safely in your vehicle, turning on the water faucet and getting clean water, or flushing your toilet and removing waste from your house are all things that people take for granted. These are also some key items that separate the United States from other countries that would love to have paved roads, clean water, and sanitation. Each day that any TREKK employee comes to work, they have the unique opportunity to improve the world, serve communities, and live out our purpose of Improving Lives. In the Wastewater Department, we have the ability to stop sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). An SSO is any un-permitted overflow of untreated sewage that discharges before it reaches the treatment facility. A CSO is any unpermitted overflow in a combined sewer system that reaches a waterway before...
Teamwork

Teamwork

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines teamwork as “the work done by people who work together as a team to do something.”  At TREKK, teamwork is exhibited on a daily basis through collaboration and commitment to the clients we serve.  And it was never more evident than the accomplishments achieved by TREKK field crews and office staff over the past summer. TREKK was tasked with smoke testing more than 2 million linear feet of sewer pipe in the Kansas City area – including local landmarks like the Country Club Plaza and University of Kansas Lawrence campus – in less than five months.  To complicate matters, a wet spring and early summer delayed the start of smoke testing by more than a month, making the schedule that much more difficult to achieve. Many people doubted that this could be accomplished by one firm and delivered on schedule and within budget. But the TREKK team did not complain, ask for more time or make excuses.  Our team stepped up and everyone pitched in to complete the work on time and on budget. It is truly awesome to be a part of this team, comprised of talented individuals working together for one common goal. ~ David...
Making a Difference

Making a Difference

Working at TREKK gives us the opportunity to improve lives in our client’s communities. And sometimes those communities happen to be the very ones we personally call home. I recently had the opportunity to help with some small pieces of an I&I cost analysis model, which included smoke observations in my hometown. Because I spent a majority of my life there, I took a sentimental moment to peer at the data we’ve input into the app our crews use for field data collection. I saw my step-grandfather’s house, and the house where my great-grandmother lived before she passed. Too many times my great-grandmother’s toilet would back up and the manhole out in the street would overflow.  Looking closer, I saw the concentration of smoke defects in that area. I couldn’t believe that after all these years, the area was finally being investigated. But it was a simple text message conversation with one of my TREKK colleagues that yielded an epiphany I may have never realized. After sharing with him my relationship to the client community, he reminded me that my tools are now being used to study an area that I played in as a child. I helped get the smoke testing app started and built a model to process acoustic sounding, manhole inspections and smoke testing in the app, which is being used weekly on sets of collected field data. I didn’t realize it at first, but I got to be involved in that effort indirectly. Never, ever, would have I seen that connection in my life had my colleague not said it. I work for the firm...